Santorini 2022: a Harvest of the Olden Days
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
With the vines in excellent condition and the slow ripening of the grapes due to the constant northerly winds, Santorini is on its way, relatively late compared to previous years, to the harvest of 2022. “I expect to harvest my Assyrtiko between August 12-13”, grower Nikolas Pelekanos tells me, whom you are familiar with from some of my past articles, but also my book The Wines of Santorini. “This particular harvest takes me years back as I haven’t seen the vines in such exceptional condition since the ’80’s” he continues and explains that this is due to a combination of factors, mainly the rain and snow that gave a breath of fresh air to the drought-stressed vines of previous years.
Matthew Argyros from Estate Argyros, along the same lines, anticipates the harvest to take place after August 12, ''as the northerly winds for over 40 days have lengthened the growing season''. “The quality this year reminds me of 2019, which was the best vintage of the last three years”, he comments and expects a tonnage of about 2200-2500 tons. “The vines may have more grapes, but the berries are small because of the cool winter and the mediocre spring temperatures”, he adds.
Spyros Chrysos from Akra Chrysos Winery feels that the lack of very high summer temperatures is the primary reason for the expected high yields, at about 35 hl/ha. He also discloses the news that this year a ton will be vinified for Nykteri and a ton from the higher altitude vineyard site of Skafida, at the renowned Louros area. Stella Papadimitriou, the oenologist of Karamolegos Winery, is slightly more restrained with her optimism as she feels that 2022 shows more uniform ripening than 2021, with yields close to those from 2020 but with a better concentration of aromas and flavours in the berries.
The same is shared by Ioanna Vamvakouri of Mikra Thira Winery on Therasia. “The berries are crunchy and tasty, and the harvest is expected later (for the Assyrtiko vines). Also, if it goes beyond the 15/8, it will be a speedy one. We are thankful there was no heatwave this year. Otherwise, we would have had much sunburn”. Finally, she adds that, once again, in Therasia, the harvest will be 3-4 days earlier.
Following the uneven ripening of the grapes in the 2021 harvest, the average 2020 harvest and the tiny 2019 harvest, it seems that the 2022 harvest is approaching, with the spring rains and lack of heatwaves on its side. We will have to wait and see if the wines will show the complexity of similar vintages, like those of 2009, 2011 and 2013.